CHOCOLATE CHUNK PECAN PIE
Here's a classic Thanksgiving pie recipe for everyone who just needs something a little bit more stable and trustworthy in their lives this year. No frills or craziness, no trying to make lemon curd and wondering why it's chunky, just pecans and dark chocolate chunks surrounded by gooey filling, all sitting in an ultra-flakey homemade pie crust. Hell, you can even use store-bought crust if you want. No judgement here, friends.
Total time: 5 hours
Active time: 1 hour
Bake time: 45-60 minutes
Makes one 9-inch pie
Ingredients for the dough (you can also use store bought):
1+1/2 cups (189 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
4 to 5 tablespoons ice cold water
Ingredients for the filling and assembly:
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 + 1 large eggs, divided
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups + 1/2 cup pecans, divided
4 oz of semi sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Flakey sea salt, for sprinkling
Ingredients for the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp powdered sugar
Instructions for dough:
If you haven’t made pie dough before, the most important thing is to keep the dough cold. We want the butter to stay in relatively small (visible) chunks throughout the dough rather than melting into it, because those globs of butter will steam in the oven and create flakiness! That’s why it’s important to start with cold butter and not overwork your dough.
1.) Begin by freezing the butter for about 15 minutes. Put flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine. Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. Toss together with your fingers and press any very large chunks between your fingers, flattening them into sheets of butter. For smaller chunks of butter, leave them be - we want to see them roughly the size of peas or larger, but not smaller. Drizzle 4 tbsp of very cold water over the mixture and use your hands to incorporate throughout the flour. The dough should not be wet or sticky, but if you press some together between your fingers, it should hold together. If needed, add 1 additional tbsp of cold water to achieve this (5 tbsp total).
2.) Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface, and use your hands to work the shaggy mixture into a dough. It will likely be dry and very crumbly at first. Clump the dough together with your hands, and the fold it over on itself a couple times until it holds together better and you have a relatively smooth dough ball. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and use your hands to flatten it into a roughly 1 inch tall disk. This will make it easier to roll out into the correct shape later. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
3.) Preheat your oven to 400° F and pull your dough out of the fridge to come up to temperature for 10-15 minutes. Place the dough on a well floured surface and flour both the top of the dough and a rolling pin. Working from the center outwards, roll the dough into a circle, picking up the dough and rotating it slightly every few seconds. This will help you roll it out evenly in a circle and will prevent it from sticking - don't be afraid to flour under the dough as needed if it starts to seem like it's sticking.
4.) Once you have a circle that is 12 inches across (and your pie dough is roughly 1/8" tall), gently roll your pie dough around your rolling pin like a scroll and then unroll it over a 9" pie plate. Lift the edges of the dough to allow it to sit into the bottom of the dish all the way around; don't try to press the dough down into the pan, stretching it out - this will cause tears. You should have an inch or so of overhang around the dish. Gently fold this under itself on top of the lip of the pie dish so that you have a thick, even edge of dough all the way around. Now you can get fancy by scalloping the edges. To do this, place a thumb on the inside of the lip pointing outwards and use the pointer finger and thumb of the other hand to push the dough around your thumb into a U shape. Do this all the way around. Here's a video to help you visualize.
5.) Now transfer for the crust to the fridge for 20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 400° F. Remove from the fridge and prick all over the bottom and sides with a fork. This allows steam to escape so that the crust doesn't deform/tear while baking. Take a sheet of parchment paper and gently press it into the your pie crust so that it sits nicely on the bottom and comes up the sides. Into the parchment, put roughly a pound of dried beans, rice, or pie weights. This will help the pie crust hold its shape while it bakes.
6.) Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until puffed slightly and set on the edges. Remove from the oven, very carefully lift out your parchment and pie weights, and reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. In the meantime, make your filling.
Instructions for the filling and assembly:
1.) In a medium bowl, use a whisk to beat together corn syrup and brown sugar until well combined. Add in 3 eggs and whisk until fully incorporated. Next, add cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt and whisk to incorporate. Finally, add in melted butter and whisk until well incorporated.
2.) In your now slightly cooled pie crust, place 2 cups of pecans and all of your chopped semi sweet chocolate. Pour the filling into the crust, drizzling evenly over all the pecans and chocolate. Use your remaining 1/2 cup of pecans to decorate the top in whatever festive pattern you'd like.
3.) Whisk together your remaining egg with a tablespoon of water, and use a pastry brush or paper towel to gently brush the edges of the pie crust. This will help us get nice golden brown edges while it bakes.
4.) Bake the pie in your preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the top looks set and does not appear liquidy if you shake it gently. There may be a slight jiggle in the center. That's okay. Depending on the exact demensions of your pie dish, it could be a different bake time. I recommend checking in at around 35 minutes to make see how it's doing and make sure the crust isn't browning to fast. If it is, cover the crust with some tin foil.
5.) Once baked, remove the pie and give it a hearty sprinkle of flakey sea salt. Allow it to set for about 2 hours at room temp. This is a pie that will taste just as good or better when it's cooled, so don't rush it. It needs to continue to solidify. Shortly before you're ready to eat it, add heavy cream to a large, chilled metal bowl and whip vigorously in a figure-8 motion. We're going for stiff peaks here - you'll know you're getting close when the whisk is leaving lasting marks in the cream. At this point, add the powdered sugar and whisk a few more times until the cream is whipped and thick, but still smooth and soft, not fluffy and curdled looking. If you pull you whisk out of the bowl and point it straight up, the whipped cream should flop over.
6.) Cut you and your family or friends nice sized pieces of pie (you deserve the biggest), dollop generously with whipped cream, and enjoy!
Amazing, flakey dough adapted from handletheheat.com